Clearing Out Clutter

Okay – let’s start at the blog ending revelation which is I hold on to stuff –

and by stuff, I mean fabric I envisioned making quilts or curtains from, baby jars to decoupage into cool candle holders, letters from old boyfriends, scraps of paper with partial poems on them, grief, fat clothes, skinny clothes, curling irons and hot rollers from the eighties, ideas of how relationships should work, beliefs on where I should be in  my life, misconceptions on what I should weigh, fear of a punishing god or universe, t-shirts to start a tye-dye business, broken clocks, piggy banks, or vases I vow to fix,  fliers from a show I don’t perform in anymore, henna hair dye I haven’t ever used, pills and otc meds that are expired, emails, my tongue during times when I should actually speak up for myself, glasses from two or three prescriptions ago and various other items or beliefs that could fill a black hole –

out of my fear of being expendable. I don’t want to be tossed aside because I might be broken. Or left in a garbage heap because I am no longer in fashion. Or overlooked because I am not the cutest puppy in the bin. Or accidentally sold in a garage sale mish-mash box labeled junk because no one saw me there. Or even worse – intentionally given away because I was no longer loved or needed.

Yeah, I know – sucks to be me, huh? How do you think it must be for those that live with me? Or truly do love me?

Everyone has their own things that scare them and for some reason, mine is the oh-so-fun combo of fear of abandonment mixed with unworthiness to be loved topped off with a good old fashioned dollop of never-enough. Throw in a splash of survivor guilt and cannot quit until it’s perfect and you have quite the supersized unhappy meal deal from a rat invested hole in the wall that only serves entrees pressure cooked to diamond-like crispness.

Wait. Before you call Oprah to add me to one of her hoarder shows, I am actually a moderate case. I can still walk around my home and my car stays relatively empty of crap (on occasion). The unworthiness helps in this area because it is hard for me to believe it is okay to buy myself that used five dollar pair of pants big enough to hide my ass with the stuck zipper, therefore, I don’t acquire a lot of physical stuff to keep, but usually once I do – it will take years to get rid of it.

Which is where I am today.

Getting rid of it.

I have finally said “Fuck it! I am cramped and tired and need some space.” So, instead of getting rid of my family and friends, or changing my name to Toni Fredericks and moving to Kotzebue, Alaska to start completely over, I have been slowly, in tiny increments, clearing away some clutter from my life.

I have given away clothes I no longer wear because they don’t fit or that I plain didn’t like in the first place. I sold off all of my stacks of fabric that I never got around to making the most perfectly sentimental quit to keep me warm when everyone has left me. I got rid of discount handbags I never use anymore and decorative knick knacks I never displayed. I am tossing out what I think everyone else thinks I should weigh and am working towards my very own happy weight. I have chipped away at the granite around my punishing god and am molding it into a pliably unconditional love of the universe. I have purged emails clogging up my memory. If something upsets me or scares me, I try to vocalize it in the moment instead of holding on to it for ten years and then nearly getting divorced or losing someone I love.

I have a long way to go and many, many more things to purge. I am trying not to look at what I have left to expunge but rejoice in my new found free space. I have allowed myself not one, but two handbag purchases over $100. I bought some new pants that actually fit and flatter the junk in my trunk. I have conversations with the people I love instead of fights. I try to let my emotion naturally flow through me until it has abated without stuffing it deep down like an undercooked turkey. I continue to write, write and write some more about these truths and other revelations I may discover for well or ill because this is just who I am.

Most importantly, I am (hopefully) teaching myself and my children that I can love, be loved and let go – all at the same time.

Will the end result be a zen-garden style home with only a pallet on the floor to sleep and one organic cotton frock that keeps me both warm and cool? I don’t know but I am willing to slip-n-slide, make progress and fall backward and cut myself some slack to find out.

Yippe kay-aye

Letter to My Heart

Dear Heart of Mine,

As I begin this letter, I honestly wonder what I will say. I have attempted to make amends to you before and upon reflection wonder if they can really count as amends if I don’t change my behavior?

When you were a young heart, freshly beating inside this new body of mine, I am sure I loved you, protected you. Even without memory of those days, I can still feel your connection to my soul – our soul.

As we grew and our journey took many paths, some of my own making, some not. Through all of the winding roads, terrifying back alleys and sunlit streets, you kept up your end of our commitment without hesitation or skipping a beat.

I, however, have taken far too many risks with you, with us. Fortunately, the majority of those chances have turned out well and we are living a relatively happy, content existence today. It hasn’t always been that way and I fear there are still some danger zones I am not able to overcome that may end up harming you.

I’m sure you remember the number of failed relationships both in love and friendship. Today we know those were never meant to last anyway, yet at the time they were extremely painful when they did not need to be. We have the loves and friendship of our life now that make us the most joyous, most complete. It all seems like I should be totally comfortable in the skin of this body, with the air we breathe, or the songs we sing.

The thing is, I think I am getting signals that I am not, that something is missing and the most troubling aspect is that I am unclear as to whether these electrifying pulsations are coming from you wherein the truth lay, or from my brain which we all know can be a battlefield of confusion and treachery.

For example, I have this friend. Her name is Vivian. She has it in her brain that she is disappearing little by little each day, literally. She doesn’t drink or take drugs but she has convinced herself that she is not far from fading out of this universe into some other realm. I love her. She is my friend and I want to help her, but I don’t know what to do.

She has told me how fulfilling her career has become after years of searching and yet she doesn’t think anyone really notices her. She is madly in love with her husband and believes he is with her, but she never hears him say the words. I have been around her kids – they are totally awesome, loving and funny creatures and still Vivian thinks she is somehow totally screwing them up. She spends hours on end confiding in me how she longs for concrete evidence that she is doing a good job, has the love of her husband and that her children are all right despite her varying and sometimes quite explosive temperament.

The more I listen to her, the more confused I become. I begin to think that she is talking about my life and not hers. I constantly remind her that she need not seek love and validation outside of herself. She has that naturally from within and simply misplaced it temporarily. I have told her at least a gazillion times to talk to her own heart in order to find the truth of how much she is loved and will never simply disappear. I cannot seem to get through to her. She still doubts, still worries that one day pieces of her will start to disintegrate until there is nothing left.

She’ll have strong stretches of time where she is okay, where it really feels like she believes she is all right and nothing has left her. Then something small will happen, like a forgotten lunch or a misunderstood comment or a challenge with her kids, and it’s as if she and I have never, ever spoken! I know it’s selfish because these are Vivian’s problems, but it is so frustrating for me! I give her my time, your time and she repays me with depression and arguments and yelling? Why won’t she listen to me, to us? It makes me want to cut her out of my life completely, to not listen to her long drawn out protestations of insanity anymore.

And here, dear heart, is where I fear I am failing you. I don’t cut her off. I am incapable of not listening to her and getting mixed up about whatever she believes is wrong in her life. I want so very much to “fix” her and her thinking, I lose track of our life, our love.

And for this, I am truly sorry. I owe you more than that. I owe our life and loves more than that. With the marking of this day, this beautiful sunny day where all things are possible, I begin anew – again. I will protect you from the confusion that my brain brings and not allow Vivian’s invisibility complex – whether real or imagined – effect our connection.

Together, sweet heart, we will beat strong and in unison for our well-being, happiness and peace.


Your Body and Soul

(For more letters to hearts, visit

Hot shame and cross blogging

In this new world of blogging and having blogging friends and commenting acquaintances, I, too, felt some flashes of hot shame while reading others comments.

One in particular caught me as I read a friends blog that referred to my blog and the comments posted on it.  It triggered that flash of hot flaming shame I know only too well and struggle daily to keep under wraps.

There buried in the numerous comments from her fans was a remark that flushed me with that same flash of red over my head and down to my toes as if the person screamed it in my face hoping to get me to move.

“ carefully constructed it was clear the author was taking few risks…”

Had she read my blog entries?  Was she writing about me?  Why does it bother me?  Of course I edit and change and exaggerate to bring my warped sensibilities to the small world I call mine.  From there cascaded a shame attack and run of what I’d written through my head.

I’ll show them, I thought, I’ll just write – unedited for 15 minutes and see where it gets me.

And that is what I am doing right now.  Writing plain and simple from my head to my fingers to my keyboard without hitting the delete key or backstroke – unless I misspell hte wodr.  (hahaha)

I set a timer and promised myself to do this at least once – not go back and sensor myself.  However, in doing so, I find little to write about.  I want so much to take these plain words from my lips and make them unique and flowered like Texas bluebonnet hills beside busy highways.

It’s the writer’s greatest dream, isn’t it?  To achieve absolution from all of the soul searching and human angst with a few strokes of a pen or taps on a keyboard.

6 minutes left.

My brain works much faster than I a can possibly keep up with in reality.  I certainly hope that I can spill out what is inside into a jumbled mess on white paper and then go back like a jigsaw puzzle to make sense out of it, rearrange it, alter it, give it a make over, and make it more enjoyable for someone else to relate to in some fashion.

I find it hard to believe that anyone could actually like the way I write without this added layer of cut and paste.  Maybe that is my old insecurities rearing their not-too-attractive head inside my much too comfortable skin these days.  I still, after all these years, want people to like me.  Like what I do.  Like what I say.


The other comments referred to Buddha and struggle and joy being one in the same (my paraphrase – remember, I cannot go back and check or fix).  If this is true, me and Buddha are tight.  There are moments when the joy I feel is so intense that a small pain erupts in my chest.  My daughter’s eyes.  Her giant, brown eyes that seem to go on forever.  My son’s smile – the one he lets me see only by chance anymore because he is trying to be so grown up, so tough at nine.

These are joys and they pang my heart.  Can you imagine what I make of my actual struggles?

Only a minute to go now…

I cannot even perform this exercise without trying to do it “correctly” – constantly checking my time to see if I’ve “cheated.”  What the fuck is wrong with my brain that I won’t let this totally go?  Will it be gone when it’s my time in heaven?  What if I don’t believe there is a heaven or hell?

Uh-oh…time’s up…

Will have to leave the rest for another post.

I guess I don’t type as fast at I thought.

(And, yes, these last four lines were typed outside of my self-imposed 15 minute timer…;o)